Not Niklas Jensen called up from Utica

In case you’re late sending in your Fantasy lineups tonight…

There isn’t a lot here, but we presumed yesterday that when John Tortorella suggested that the Canucks would call up another man, it was going to be Niklas Jensen. That doesn’t seem to be the case.

In case you’re unfamiliar, Dimitri Filipovic profiled Lain in the summer here:

I think Jason Botchford put it best, though: “Lain has two things going for him: he has size, and he’s a centre. And the Canucks need both.” In that same article, Laurence Gilman gave his take on what they’re expecting of Lain – “We see him as a bottom end centre, more like Paul Gaustad or maybe a David Steckel type of player. That kind of guy.”

While it’s hard to be overly excited about a guy who projects to fill that role, the fact of the matter is that fielding a competent 4th line gives your team a noticeable advantage in today’s NHL. I feel fairly confident that Kellan Lain will be able to fill that role adequately, maybe even as soon as this coming season. He’s 24-years old, he’s mature, and he’s only making $600k. Don’t be surprised if you see him up with the Canucks for a large chunk of the 2013-14 season. All of which means that he has legitimate value. Especially as the 10th ranked prospect in an average-to-below average system.

That’s a little generous. Our own Thom Drance pointed out in the comments section of that post that checking players put up very good offensive numbers in junior and the minors. As a 24-year-old in the AHL in 2005-06, Steckel had 34 points in 74 games, or close to a 33% higher points-per-game rate than Lain’s current 11 points in 35 games. But the expectation shouldn’t be for Lain to become as good of a checking centreman as Steckel once was (also, if you want David Steckel, you could have just signed him in the summer). He’s a warm body that will fill a roster spot and throw a few hits should he get into the lineup tomorrow in Phoenix.

The big news probably isn’t that Lain is coming up, it’s that Jensen is staying down. Rumour has it we have a big comment section below for some griping about that reality.

  • acg5151

    Not bad at all. Rather see Jensen start to regain his pace and scoring touch after the injury in Utica than 5-6 minutes a game on the fourth line here. Don’t need to rush him into a small role here at his point; better to see Corrado and Jensen get real minutes in the AHL.

  • acg5151

    Lain turned up the offence lately. If he can play D, win draws and hit then line 4 is his. He has been playing all season so he has an idea of the system and is in game shape.

    Not sure why people thought it’d be Jensen. He was injured and that delayed his development. He is JUST now starting to score. He needs more time to cement his game and become consistent. I think Grenier would be ahead of Jensen too when it came to call-ups (well, right now anyway).

  • antro

    Or break the rules and call up Gaunce!?

    Seriously though, I think Lain is the better choice right now. Jensen needs to find some consistency before he really deserves a call up.

  • Blomstrand doesn’t even have a 0.5PPG in the ECHL this year (but does have a nice SOG/G).

    Lain has turned up his offense, yes, but he also has a 17.9% Sh% on 39 shots. So that will regress.

    Lain is a valuable player though, he plays a lot of minutes against heavy competition and he is still swimming. Utica is going to miss him while he is gone.

  • Anyone feel that Sestito’s Days are numbered? Lain’ s callup is well deserved he has been scoring and plays very physical, he also will step up to protect a team mate. However I think he is more of a 3rd liner as lack of ice time may hurt his development .